- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Media Contact for Attorney General Maura Healey Swears In LGBTQ Youth Commission As Advancing Equity Awards Are Unveiled
Corey Prachniak-Rincón, Director, MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Boston — On March 7th at 10:00am, Attorney General Maura Healey led the annual swearing-in of members of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth, an independent state agency now in its twenty-sixth year. The swearing-in ceremony, which packed a hearing room at the State House despite a snowstorm outside, was immediately followed by the Commission’s first ever Advancing Equity Awards ceremony.
“For the last twenty-six years, the Commission has been there to really lead the way,” Attorney General Healey said before leading members in taking their oaths. “This year, the work of this Commission is as important as it’s ever been… We’ve seen attempts to roll-back efforts that have been made here in the state and at the national level, and my encouragement to all in this room is that we stay steady and that we keep the faith.”
The swearing-in ceremony has been an annual tradition for the Commission, which is comprised of fifty volunteer members who serve two-year terms. “The Commission is grateful to Attorney General Healey for swearing in eleven new Commissioners, and many returning Commissioners, at this event,” said Alexander A. Nally, the Chair of the Commission. “Attorney General Healey continues to be an ally and advocate for LGBTQ youth and the Commission’s strategic work in schools, communities, and state agencies to address youth homelessness, criminal justice reform, and health outcomes for the betterment of LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts.”
The ceremony was immediately followed by the presentation of the Commission’s first-ever Advancing Equity Awards. At the ceremony, the five winners of the award - which recognizes those who advance equity for LGBTQ youth in the Commonwealth - were unveiled. They included:
- Chastity Bowick, director of the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts;
- David Sykes, New Bedford area director of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission;
- Effie Molina, Family Resource Supervisor for the Greenfield Area Office of the Department of Children and Families, and state chair of DCF’s LGBTQ liaison program;
- Kelly Turley, associate director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; and
- The Greater Boston GSA Student Leadership Council
Effie Molina, who has worked to expand DCF’s capacity to serve LGBTQ youth in the foster care system, said that the ceremony provided “a huge lift, and it motivates me to continue in the work.”
“Every action we take toward increasing safety for a child, it makes the world that bit safer for everyone,” Molina said. “My hope, for LGBTQ youth, and for us all, is that we can build a world where everyone gets to be their authentic self.”
In addition to the individual awardees like Molina, the Commission also honored the Greater Boston GSA Student Leadership Council for its collective work over the past year. The Council represents students from local GSAs, which formerly stood for “gay-straight alliances,” and are now more commonly referred to as “gender and sexuality alliances.” The Greater Boston Council has worked hard to increase engagement with historically underrepresented communities, as well as to build bridges between GSAs in high schools and the growing number that are developing in middle schools.
“We work with so many passionate partners in government and civil society, as well as youths in and out of school,” said Corey Prachniak-Rincón, the Commission’s director. “It was challenging to select just a few to be in the inaugural class for our Advancing Equity Awards, but we were thrilled to honor the work that they are doing, and to share that work with the public.”
The Commission on LGBTQ Youth is established by law as an independent state agency to recommend and advocate to all branches of state government effective policies, programs and resources for LGBTQ youth to thrive. Founded in 1992 as the first body of its kind in the nation, the Commission has been advocating for LGBTQ youth wellbeing in and out of school for 25 years.